Tag Archives: media
So, I’m trolling the ‘web and come across this story about the ACLU and SPLC making some noise over wretched conditions at a private Mississippi prison, right? The story is in the Salt Lake Tribune because the prison operator is based out of Utah. So far, so good.
And read this photo caption:
(Jane Marquardt, right, is vice chair of Management Training Corporation. She is seen here with her spouse Tami Marquardt. MTC operates a Mississippi prison the ACLU calls “barbaric.” Photo by Trent Nelson/The Salt Lake Tribune) ; 11/18/2003
I just found that kinda strange. That’s the picture you run with this story? The one that screams LESBIAN LESBIAN LESBIAN all over it? I find it odd. Especially since, as the story clearly states:
Centerville, Utah, company Management and Training Corp. operates the prison, but is not named as a defendant.
No, the defendant is the Mississippi Department of Corrections. But fine, the operator is based out of Utah, so there’s a local angle to the story. I get that. But the LESBIAN LESBIAN LESBIAN photo thing? Seems weird.
Is it me?
I just threw this post up last night, but the more I think about it, the weirder this is. Why didn’t they use a picture of this dude?
That’s Bob Marquardt, the company’s founder. I’m guessing he’s the father or some other relative of Jane Marquardt, the LESBIAN in the picture they did use.
Or how about this dude:
That’s Scott Marquardt, the actual president of the company.
According to the MTC website, Jane Marquardt is vice chair of the company’s board of directors, and the company’s “international business development director.” She’s also an attorney, so maybe that’s why they used her photo in this story? But it really seems odd editorial judgment to me. Again, the company isn’t even a defendant in the Mississippi case. If I didn’t know better, I’d say the Salt Lake Tribune is trying to draw some nefarious connection between a “barbaric” prison in Mississippi and ZOMG LESBIANS.
It’s that liberal media again.
There was a commissioner, Douglas Shulman, who was appointed by the Bush/Cheney administration five years ago, and who was in charge when the agency began treating conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status unfairly. It’s unlikely that a Republican deliberately targeted groups on the right for extra scrutiny.
But more to the point, Rubio’s demand is problematic given the fact that Shulman has already resigned, leaving the IRS last November. It’s tough for a guy to fall on his sword after he’s already packed up his stuff and gone home.
So the guy in charge of the IRS when conservative groups say they were unfairly targeted was a Bush appointee, and he’s been gone for six months.
I’d say the Teanuts have been played.
Help me out here, people. Other than massive butthurt and shrill whining, skills which the Tea Party employ with surgical precision, I don’t get what this supposed “scandal” involving the IRS is all about.
Tea Party groups were applying for 501(c)4 status. Political groups can’t be 501(c)4s. They can’t be involved directly in politics, raise money for candidates, launch primary challenges, run for office, etc. But groups calling themselves “Tea Party” and “Patriots” had been in the news for months doing exactly that! So why is it a big deal that the IRS was looking into the activities of groups calling themselves “Tea Party” before granting them non-profit status?
What am I missing here?
Also, many on the left have mentioned the numerous ways the Bush Administration did the same and even worse, without so much as a tear from conservatives or a front page headline from the mainstream media. Remember All Saints Church in Pasadena, California? Following a 2004 anti-war sermon which went viral, the IRS investigated the church for two years and threatened its non-profit status. At the same time, conservative “Patriot pastors” telling their congregations how to vote were ignored.
Remember when the FBI infiltrated anti-war groups as they planned protests ahead of the 2008 Republican National Convention in Minneapolis? Probably not — there’s little mention of this in the corporate media.
The FBI improperly targeted Greenpeace, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and two antiwar groups in domestic terrorism investigations between 2001 and 2006, the Inspector General of the Department of Justice said in a report released today.
The IG found there was “little or no basis” for the terror investigations, and that they were “unreasonable and inconsistent with FBI policy.”
At least two of the investigations resulted in innocent people being placed on the domestic terror watch list for years, and one resulted in FBI Director Robert Mueller providing Congress with “inaccurate and misleading information,” according to the report.
Remember the Pentagon’s TALON data base, which targeted anti-war Quakers and Don’t Ask Don’t Tell protestors? Doubtful: most people have probably never heard of it. Outside the lefty press, it got little attention on cable and network news.
Remember back in 2003 when the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation took down names of anti-war protestors at an MTSU peace rally? More recently, remember when the FBI targeted Occupy Wall Street?
Imagine the Tea Party hysterics if the FBI put their leaders on the terror watch list. But you don’t see Morning Joe booking the head of PETA to discuss the ways they were targeted; today he did book Newt Gingrich. And the Wall Street Journal is calling this “Nixonian.” Seriously? So you had to wait a little longer for your tax exempt status to clear on account of your politicking. Cry me a damn river, you big babies. Call me when your name is placed on a secret domestic terror watch list.
This is one giant nothingburger, another chance for the Tea Party to whine and call for the fainting couches about how unfair everyone always is to them. Seriously? The media is playing along with this? After ignoring the far worse ways liberal groups have been targeted by different government agencies — including the IRS?
Just further proof that the media is not liberal and its infatuation with all things Tea Party has continued.
You know what I think? I think the news media are desperate for a political scandal. We had so many of them during the Bush years, and then there was Clinton’s blow job and Gennifer Flowers and TravelGate and all the other Clinton-era scandals, phony and otherwise. Obama is just too boring.
Holy racist rant, Batman. I cannot fucking believe that Time magazine printed this crap from Joel Stein about how those stinky brown people need to move back to India so his hometown can go back to the way he remembers it:
My town is totally unfamiliar to me. The Pizza Hut where my busboy friends stole pies for our drunken parties is now an Indian sweets shop with a completely inappropriate roof. The A&P I shoplifted from is now an Indian grocery. The multiplex where we snuck into R-rated movies now shows only Bollywood films and serves samosas. The Italian restaurant that my friends stole cash from as waiters is now Moghul, one of the most famous Indian restaurants in the country. There is an entire generation of white children in Edison who have nowhere to learn crime.
I never knew how a bunch of people half a world away chose a random town in New Jersey to populate. Were they from some Indian state that got made fun of by all the other Indian states and didn’t want to give up that feeling? Are the malls in India that bad? Did we accidentally keep numbering our parkway exits all the way to Mumbai?
This was supposed to be funny? Oh, FFS! Why is Nashville home to one of the world’s largest populations of Kurds? Why are there so many Somalis here, and now people from Burma are arriving? You know why? Because of refugee resettlement programs and support services from all of our churches and Catholic Charities. So Stein wants to know why Indians chose Edison, New Jersey? Hell, I don’t know. Maybe just to piss you off with “the amount of cologne they wear.”
Honestly, is this click-bait or what?
(Both Time and Stein has apologized for the column’s offensiveness, BTW.)
Today’s horrible idea comes courtesy of the floundering CNN, which hopes it can stage a ratings comeback by recycling a failed idea from the past. That’s right, CNN is supposedly bringing back the awful Crossfire this summer:
After the failed week long experiment of (Get To) The Point and the unsteady The Lead With Jake Tapper, Jeff Zucker is looking for a blast from the past to revive CNN. The ratings-struggling cable new network is bringing back Crossfire in June, network insiders tell me. No hosts have been chosen yet, the sources say. Nor is it clear if the show will definitely remain a half hour, as the original Crossfire was, or go longer. Right now it seems that Crossfire 2.0 is slated to have a variety of CNN personalities and contributors taking up the “left” and “right” roles on the new version of the political debate show. A CNN standard almost from the begining, Crossfire ran on the network in both daytime and primetime from 1982 until it was cancelled in 2005. Crossfire isn’t the first piece of CNN history Zucker has brought back since taking over in January. The former Today show producer reinstalled James Earl Jones’ traditional “This is CNN” promo voiceover in his first week in his new gig.
Oh, I know! Let’s get another one of those egofests where right and left shout talking points over one other, said nobody, ever. Jesus, but this is a terrible idea. Hey CNN, if you want to bring something back from the past, how about Style With Elsa Klensch? I adored that show, it was my Saturday morning staple. Elsa always asked the same three questions: “What colors are you using,” “What fabrics are you using,” and, “What about prints?” Really, if you’re doing fashion journalism, that’s all anyone needs to know.
Oh, CNN. Let’s go back to the day Jon Stewart stuck a pin in the Crossfire balloon and told Tucker Carlson and Paul Begala to stop hurting America. Neither Carlson nor Begala seemed to understand the different roles CNN and Comedy Central play; neither Crossfire host seemed to get that Stewart is an entertainer doing an entertainment show on an entertainment network, while they were supposed to be newsmen doing a news show on a news network. Stewart said the concept of Crossfire was a good one, but the execution was hurting American discourse. Crossfire got cancelled but CNN continued on its march toward absurd infotainment. I don’t harbor much hope that Crossfire 2.0 would be any better than it was the first time around.
Ah, the liberal media. Have you noticed, as I have, that whenever there’s an accidental shooting, the media immediately switches to the passive voice?
In the active voice, the subject of the sentence performs the action. For example, He shot himself while cleaning his gun. In the passive voice, the subject of the sentence is acted upon, for example, The gun accidentally fired while he was cleaning it. Passive v active voice is a neat trick used by spinmeisters and obfuscators, and it’s one which savvy cynics such as myself have learned to recognize. For those who have forgotten their English 101:
We find an overabundance of the passive voice in sentences created by self-protective business interests, magniloquent educators, and bombastic military writers (who must get weary of this accusation), who use the passive voice to avoid responsibility for actions taken. Thus “Cigarette ads were designed to appeal especially to children” places the burden on the ads — as opposed to “We designed the cigarette ads to appeal especially to children,” in which “we” accepts responsibility.
I don’t know if it’s intentional, but when writing about accidental shootings the media’s use of the passive voice is so pervasive and common, it’s hard not to wonder what the hell is going on. Here are just a few examples I’ve assembled from recent reports.
Investigators said the man was removing a .45 caliber handgun from the console of his car, when the weapon accidentally fired. The victim was taken to a nearby hospital then later transported to a Wichita facility for treatment
Amazing how these things “just happen,” isn’t it? The weapon “just accidentally fired,” all by its own self.
It appears that Cooper was removing a hunting rifle from the vehicle and that it accidentally fired, the bullet tearing through the case in which the gun was located and hitting Cooper in the chest, Honeycutt said.
According to a Tuesday release, the gun discharged while in the child’s possession.
LUMBERTON – A Fairmont boy was accidentally shot to death Sunday when the shotgun his father was cleaning discharged, authorities said.
A police trainee with Dallas Area Rapid Transit was wounded around 6:15 a.m. Wednesday morning after his service weapon accidentally discharged. The bullet struck the trainee in the leg. Dallas Fire-Rescue sent an ambulance to the scene, which was located in the 2100 block of South Corinth Street, just north of Illinois Avenue.
A spokesman for DART said that the trainee was putting his weapon in its holster when it accidentally fired. Another spokesman confirmed that the trainee shot himself in the thigh and was taken to Methodist Hospital in Dallas.
Which one was it? Did the gun just accidentally fire, or did the trainee shoot himself in the thigh?
Police say a man went to the park to take a walk. He was putting the gun away when it accidentally fired, striking him in the leg.
WTF is this about, reporters? Why does the media give people a pass for shooting their kids, their neighbors, innocent bystanders, and themselves? It’s very curious. Is this “political correctness,” or just bad journalism?
But my favorite is this headline from Dayton, Ohio. It isn’t an example of passive voice use, as the story gets it right (before getting it wrong). But the headline is an egregious contortion deflecting responsibility for gun negligence by a CCW holder. It was so good I had to get a screen shot. I bring you this profile in courage:
And from the story:
MORAINE – A male driving in a store parking lot accidentally shot himself in the leg with his .45 Caliber Colt Commander.
On a routine shopping trip, the subject said it was uncomfortable wearing the weapon – for which he had legitimate papers – in his holster while driving, so he put it in the center console of his vehicle. When he reached for the weapon, it went off.
Yes, Dayton News. Give that man a medal for “saving himself.” /sarcasm.
Here’s the deal: we’ve either got a bunch of weapons just firing all by their ownselves, in which case gun manufacturers maybe need to rethink their product, OR we have a bunch of gun owners showing extreme negligence while cleaning, holstering, and stowing their weapons. Either way, we’ve got a problem and the news media seems to be giving everyone a pass.
My fellow Americans, the state of our news media sucks.
That’s not just me talking, that’s the determination of the Pew Research Center’s 10th Annual Report on American Journalism. The results are not pretty.
The most distressing development is the manipulation of “news content” by special interests trying to influence public opinion and public policy. This is not a new trend, but it’s certainly gotten worse over time. Journalism is dead, replaced by PR firms, marketing agencies, and other message manipulators:
A Pew Research Center analysis revealed that campaign reporters were acting primarily as megaphones, rather than as investigators, of the assertions put forward by the candidates and other political partisans. That meant more direct relaying of assertions made by the campaigns and less reporting by journalists to interpret and contextualize them. This is summarized in our special video report on our Election Research, only about a quarter of statements in the media about the character and records of the presidential candidates originated with journalists in the 2012 race, while twice that many came from political partisans.
There are signs of this trend that carry beyond the political realm, as more and more entities seek, by various means, to fill the void left by overstretched editorial resources. Business leaders in Detroit, MI, for example, have created an organization to serve as a kind of tour guide to journalists with the goal of injecting more favorable portrayals of the city into media coverage. The government of Malaysia was recently discovered to have bankrolled propaganda that appeared in several major U.S. outlets under columnists’ bylines. A number of news organizations, including The Associated Press, recently carried a fake press release about Google that came from a PR distribution site that promises clients it will reach “top media outlets.”
This infiltration by corporate, monied interests is incredibly seamless. We’re all by now familiar with the astroturfing efforts of corporate frontgroups like those created by Rick Berman; I’ve been amused to see Berman lackey David Martosko operate — until recently — as a key player at Tucker Carlson’s Daily
Failure Caller. Right wing activists herald their boy genius James O’Keefe as some kind of independent “guerilla journalist,” but as I learned this weekend, his money comes from the same right-wing Sugar Daddies behind conservative candidates like Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney.
Efforts by political and corporate entities to get their messages into news coverage are nothing new. What is different now—adding up the data and industry developments—is that news organizations are less equipped to question what is coming to them or to uncover the stories themselves, and interest groups are better equipped and have more technological tools than ever.
This is pretty grim. Where it all shakes out from here, I don’t know. According to the Pew study, 31% of American adults have dropped a news outlet because it no longer served their information needs.
Men have left at somewhat higher rates than women, as have the more highly educated and higher-income earners—many of those, in other words, that past Pew Research data have shown to be among the heavier news consumers.
These are the people advertisers are trying to reach, too, indicating a downward death spiral for the Fourth Estate.
Peggy Noonan is a very weird lady. Noonan wrote a column scolding liberals and liberal Catholics for having the temerity to hold an opinion that differs from Peggy Noonan’s on the next Pope. For your enjoyment, an excerpt:
I once read an account of Anne Boleyn’s death. In the moments after she was beheaded her head was held aloft by her executioner, to show the crowd. Her nervous system was shocked, her neurons misfired, her head didn’t know it was severed from her neck. Her eyes blinked, her mouth moved crazily. Those critics who go on TV now to tear down what they don’t even understand: they are removed and unknowing. They are Anne Boleyn’s head.
Well, that’s an interesting characterization. I guess comparing us to Hitler no longer had the desired shock value.
Now that it appears Anne Boleyn’s zombie head has prevailed, maybe Nooners will shut her own yap.
Also, be warned: I have claimed Anne Boleyn’s Head as the name of my all-female punk rock band.
Wow. A liberal Jesuit from Argentina. This is shocking.
Let me state for the record: I do not give a rat’s ass who the next Pope is.
I understand why this is important. There are an estimated 1.2 billion Catholics on a planet of six (seven?) billion people; that’s a pretty hefty market share in this religion business (and I do mean business.) But I am not one of them, and I find the media’s obsession with all things Papal a little ridiculous.
I actually feel kind of sorry for the news media. At this point, there’s no news. There’s nothing to cover, so they’re forced to issue “BREAKING NEWS” alerts about black smoke and fill the gaps with well-worn features like “Papal security: How Catholic leader is kept safe.”
Guys, we just went through this whole rigamarole eight years ago; it’s not like we haven’t already covered every piece of Vatican-related trivia in really recent memory, okay? This is an institution which has stood for hundreds and hundreds of years and is famous for its resistance to change. Really, y’all could just recycle 90% of your stories from April 2005, as far as I’m concerned.
I think the most hilarious coverage has to be found on CBS This Morning. Seriously, give it a rest, guys. Right now their home page looks like Vatican TV; every single story is Pope-related. You’d think the selection of the next Pope was the most critical issues facing Americans since the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
(By the way, have you guys noticed it’s the 10th anniversary of the Iraq War? The one the news media helped drag us into because getting that embed assignment would be so fun and super-cool? No? Sorry I asked.)
CBS has sent a massive team to Rome, including morning hosts Charlie Rose and Norah O’Donnell. They’re on it! Live, as it’s happening! Except, of course, nothing is happening, so we get lame fluff like Rose’s Vespa tour of Rome with Italian actor Pierfrancesco Favino, or Scott Pelley’s interview with three priests-in-training. I find it completely puzzling that CBS has devoted so many resources to this story, as if it were the Olympics or a royal wedding. Indeed, royal wedding is the best analogy here: there’s something very Kate and
Andrew William about the news coverage. All of that ritual and ceremony, the Old World hierarchies that America was created in opposition to. Yet our cultural gatekeepers keep foisting this stuff on us, as if we’re all so fascinated by these arcane European traditions which have very little relevance to our lives. How very, very odd.
Also, the news media really doesn’t know how to cover religion. Two years ago the Presbyterian Church (USA) voted to allow the ordination of gays. I don’t remember anyone at CBS This Morning mentioning the news. The print media buried the story in their religion sections and that was that. But crackpot fundie pastors with congregations numbering in the tens gain national attention for burning Muslim holy books and “God hates fags” picket lines. Now why is that? Why do conservative Catholic Bishops who deny Democrats communion get splashed across the front page, but the Nuns On The Bus are ignored?
I wonder if CBS News plans to cover these pastors who are making a stand against the immoral Ryan Budget? Doubtful: where the American media is concerned, all religion is Republican. Anything that doesn’t fit their narrow frame is ignored.
So I guess we’re in for a few more days/weeks of “breaking news” about the
royal wedding Vatican succession, followed by “breaking news” about the baby bump new Pope. It’s all very silly and irrelevant as far as I’m concerned.
If you click on the link, the caption says something about the Mississippi Karate Association, and doesn’t appear to have anything to do with “tackling homelessness.” File this one under unfortunate headline/photo juxtapositions.
Oh, Mississippi. Stay adorable.